Trump says USA opioid crisis is a 'national emergency'

Jerome Frank
August 12, 2017

Trump made the announcement during an appearance Thursday outside his Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey, where he is on a 17-day vacation. He said that right now we need to focus is that Opioid crises can be solved without a declaration of an emergency.

The White House commission on the opioid crisis had recommended the measure in a draft report last week, saying an emergency declaration would allow the administration to take bold steps to address the issue and pressure Congress to offer more funding.

In Thursday's briefing, Trump said, "It is a serious problem, the likes of which we've never had". In 2015, more than 52,000 people died of drug overdoses, majority because of opioids.

In early August, Trump's commission on the opioid crisis issued a preliminary report that described the overdose death toll as "September 11th every three weeks", and urged the president to immediately "declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act".

The chairman of the president's opioid commission, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, thanked the president "for accepting the first recommendation" of the commission's report.

Dr. Kabazie, said he doesn't know if the country is really prepared for what may be ahead. We badly needed national leadership.

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Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia have some of the nation's highest rates of overdose deaths due to heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and abuse of prescription opioids such as oxycodone.

"If you declare a state of emergency, you can move federal resources more easily between programmatic areas", said Michael Fraser, the executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

"This is everything from health care for treatment for those battling the disease of addiction, but also law enforcement, to get access to crime fighting tools and support to stop drug dealers and the flow of heroin into our communities". But, he said, "the reality is that they have spent this entire year trying to cut spending on the opioid epidemic" via drastic cuts to Medicaid contained within the various GOP-supported Obamacare repeal bills that almost became law. The last national emergency declared was for the Zika outbreak, and before that, it was the flu epidemic in 2010.

"Additional resources from the federal government will help hard-hit states like OH", said DeWine. "The average American would likely be shocked to know that drug overdoses now kill more people than gun homicides and vehicle crashes combined".

US President Donald Trump has pledged to fight the epidemic "opioid crisis".

That law has restricted treatment providers' ability to meet the demand for substance-abuse treatment.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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